Joshua 13:19
And Kirjathaim, and Sibmah, and Zarethshahar in the mount of the valley,
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Joshua 13:19. In the mount of the valley — In the mount which overlooked the great plain before mentioned, or which bordered upon the valley, a mount which, it seems, was then famous among the Israelites; whether that where Moses was buried, which was near to Beth-peor, or some other.

13:7-33 The land must be divided among the tribes. It is the will of God that every man should know his own, and not take that which is another's. The world must be governed, not by force, but right. Wherever our habitation is placed, and in whatever honest way our portion is assigned, we should consider them as allotted of God; we should be thankful for, and use them as such, while every prudent method should be used to prevent disputes about property, both at present and in future. Joshua must be herein a type of Christ, who has not only conquered the gates of hell for us, but has opened to us the gates of heaven, and having purchased the eternal inheritance for all believers, will put them in possession of it. Here is a general description of the country given to the two tribes and a half, by Moses. Israel must know their own, and keep to it; and may not, under pretence of their being God's peculiar people, encroach on their neighbours. Twice in this chapter it is noticed, that to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance: see Nu 18:20. Their maintenance must be brought out of all the tribes. The ministers of the Lord should show themselves indifferent about worldly interests, and the people should take care they want nothing suitable. And happy are those who have the Lord God of Israel for their inheritance, though little of this world falls to their lot. His providences will supply their wants, his consolations will support their souls, till they gain heavenly joy and everlasting pleasures.See the marginal references for some of these names. Heshbon, Kedemoth, and Mephaath became eventually Levitical cities.8. With whom—Hebrew, "him." The antecedent is evidently to Manasseh, not, however, the half-tribe just mentioned, but the other half; for the historian, led, as it were, by the sound of the word, breaks off to describe the possessions beyond Jordan already assigned to Reuben, Gad, and the half of Manasseh (see on [190]Nu 32:1; [191]Nu 32:33; also see De 3:8-17). It may be proper to remark that it was wise to put these boundaries on record. In case of any misunderstanding or dispute arising about the exact limits of each district or property, an appeal could always be made to this authoritative document, and a full knowledge as well as grateful sense obtained of what they had received from God (Ps 16:5, 6). In the mountain bordering upon that valley, which then was famous among the Israelites, whether that where Moses was buried, which was near to the place here following, Beth-peor, Deu 34:1,6, or some other. And this clause is thought to belong to all the cities now mentioned.

And Kirjathaim,.... Of which See Gill on Numbers 32:37,

and Sibmah; of which See Gill on Numbers 32:3 and See Gill on Numbers 32:38,

and Zarethshahar, in the mount of the valley; which was built on one of the mountains that looked over the valley of Moab, as did Nebo, Pisgah, Abarim; perhaps it is the same place Josephus (k) calls Zara, to which he joins the valley of the Cilicians, and mentions it along with Heshbon, Medeba, and other cities of Moab; according to Adrichomius (l), it was in the mount of the valley of Bethpeor, which next follows.

(k) Antiqu. l. 13. c. 15. sect. 4. (l) Ut supra, (Theatrum Ter. Sanct.) p. 130.

And Kirjathaim, and Sibmah, and Zarethshahar in the mount of the valley,
19. and Kirjathaim] In Jeremiah 48:1; Jeremiah 48:23 and Ezekiel 25:9 the name is given in our version as Kiriathaim. This place, as well as Dibon, Beth-baal-meon, and Medeba, is found among the proper names recorded on the now celebrated “Moabite stone.” Canon Tristram would identify it with the modern Kureiyat. “The twin hills explain the Hebrew dual and plural terminations.” Land of Moab, p. 275.

Sibmah] Hardly 500 paces from Heshbon, according to Jerome. Isaiah and Jeremiah mention it in the lament pronounced over Moab (Isaiah 16:8-9; Jeremiah 48:32).

and Zareth-shahar] = “the Splendour of the Dawn,” in Mount Ira-Emak = “the Mountain of the Valley.” Menke places it west of Mount Pisgah, towards the Dead Sea. “Having climbed the hills and traced the feeders of the Callirrhoe to their mountain sources, our next aim was to get down to the shore of the Dead Sea by the unvisited Zara, the ‘Zareth-shahar in the mountain of the valley’ of Joshua 13:19.… At length we reached the Dead Sea shore at Zara, which … is really three miles south of the mouth of the Callirrhoe, and in a wide open belt of land, beyond the opening of Wady Z’gara. The surrounding mountain crescent is beautiful, both in form and colour. The sandstone, gilded by the sun, presents the most gorgeous colouring, red predominating, but white, yellow, and brown patches and streaks abound. Groves of tamarisk and acacia, and all the strange tropical shrubs of Engedi and the Sáfieh, gradually give place to huge tufts of a sort of Pampas-grass ten feet high; and then to impenetrable cane-brakes, which reach to within a few feet of the pebbly shore.… Of Zara, the old Hebrew town of Zareth-shahar, but little remains. A few broken basaltic columns and pieces of wall, about 200 yards back from the shore, and a ruined fort rather nearer the sea, about the middle of the coast-line of the plain, are all that are left, beyond the identity of name. Of Rome, or later work, there is not a vestige. Yet these poor relics have an interest of their own. We are looking here on, perhaps, the only surviving relic of the buildings of the semi-nomad tribe of Reuben, prior to the Babylonish captivity.” Tristram’s Land of Moab, pp. 281–284. See the photograph of the Remains, p. 283.

Verse 19. - Sibmah (see Numbers 32:38). The vine of Sibmah forms a feature in the lament of Isaiah (Isaiah 16:8) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 48:32) over Moab. It was close by Heshbon, on the borders of Reuben and Gad (cf. ver. 17 with Joshua 21:39). Zareth-shahar, or the splendour of the dawn, now garar, was on the borders of the Dead Sea. Canon Tristram, in his 'Land of Moab,' mentions the gorgeous colouring of the landscape here, more beautiful and varied, no doubt, at dawn than at any other time of the day. Joshua 13:19Kirjathaim, where Chedorlaomer defeated the Emim, is probably to be found in the ruins of et-Teym, half an hour to the west of Medaba (see at Genesis 14:5). Sibmah (Numbers 32:38), according to Jerome (on Isaiah 16:8), only 500 paces from Heshbon, appears to have hopelessly disappeared. Zereth-hashachar, i.e., splendor aurorae, which is only mentioned here, was situated "upon a mountain of the valley." According to Joshua 13:27, the valley was the Jordan valley, or rather (according to Genesis 14:3, Genesis 14:8) the vale of Siddim, a valley running down on the eastern side of the Dead Sea. Seetzen conjectures that the town referred to is the present ruin of Sar, on the south of Zerka Maein. - Beth-peor, opposite to Jericho, six Roman miles higher than (to the east of) Libias: see at Numbers 23:28. The "slopes of Pisgah" (Joshua 12:3; Deuteronomy 3:17): to the south of the former, on the north-eastern shore of the Dead Sea (see at Numbers 27:12). Beth-jeshimoth (Joshua 12:3), in the Ghor el Seisabn, on the north-east side of the Dead Sea (see at Numbers 22:1). In Joshua 13:21, the places which Reuben received in addition to those mentioned by name are all summed up in the words, "and all the (other) towns of the plain, and all the kingdom of Sihon," sc., so far as it extended over the plain. These limitations of the words are implied in the context: the first in the fact that towns in the plain are mentioned in Joshua 13:17; the second in the fact that, according to Joshua 13:27, "the rest of the kingdom of Sihon," i.e., the northern portion of it, was given to the Gadites. The allusion to Sihon induced the author to mention his defeat again; see at Numbers 31, where the five Midianitish vassals who were slain with Sihon are noticed in Numbers 31:8, and the death of Balaam is also mentioned. "Dukes of Sihon," properly vassals of Sihon; נסיכים does not signify anointed, however, but means literally poured out, i.e., cast, moulded, enfeoffed. The word points to the "creation of a prince by the communication or pouring in of power" (Gusset, s. v.).
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